The San Antonio Spurs were overcome by the Miami Heat’s strong defensive start and hot shooting - losing 110-105. Three Spur players (LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, and Marco Belinelli) had 17 points, but the Heat rode 16 of 35 shooting from 3 and a yeoman’s effort by their bench players to hold off a late San Antonio rally. The Heat improved their all-time regular season record in the Alamo City to 4-27.
- San Antonio started ice cold due to Miami opening in a 2-3 zone to combat the Spurs’ perimeter shooters. As a result, the Heat surged ahead 16-6 on open outside looks from Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, and Derrick Jones Jr., and several regrettable offensive rebounds. DeMar DeRozan scored on two jumpers with the Spurs starting 2 of 9 in the first five minutes. The Spurs were able to stay afloat as a team by not turning over the ball and offensively by means of Aldridge’s interior game combined with Rudy Gay’s and Belinelli’s shooting. Despite the hot start by the road team, the Spurs came out of the opening stanza only down 22-24.
- Goran Dragic and Davis Bertans, via gorgeous looking jumpers, waged their own shooting battle to start the second period. It’s worth noting that Dragic and Dwyane Wade, though top flight scoring guards early this decade, are the primary bench support now and the Heat have outscored their opponents by 38 with them on the floor the last five games. Dragic continued his white-hot shooting and racked up 20 points, helping Miami extend its lead to double digits on a 24-9 run. Sadly one of his first misses came at the free throw line! Derrick White finally got on the board with a driving three point play midway through the quarter. The Heat continued to pressure the Spurs on the perimeter and rode 61% shooting with a sizeable rebound advantage from three to a 62-47 lead at the half. The Spurs Mid-3 chipped in 25, while the rest of the team seemed to leave their shooting in their residences.
- Gay started the third quarter in place of a scoreless Jakob Poeltl’s and promptly hit a corner 3. In a ‘this might be their night’ sequence, Olynyk backtapped a Miami miss which resulted in a Dion Waiters end-of-clock three. Bam Adebayo packaged a hook and a alley-oop with his 12 rebounds to put his team up 18. The Heat continued to confound the Spurs with their 2-3 zone and overplaying passing lanes. Richardson asserted himself for Miami with his shooting and defense.
- If you had picked a time in this homestand where the Spurs shot less than 40% from the field and gave up 50% from 3-point land on the other end, you would have picked the Warriors game, right? Behind the shooting of Mills and Belinelli, the Spurs closed the deficit to nine before Wade repaid San Antonio’s gift with a buzzer-beating three beyond halfcourt (just like Stephen Curry did last game) to end the third stanza.
- Belinelli and Mills traded baskets with Hassan Whiteside to start the fourth quarter. The Spurs were better able to contest Miami’s shots and limit turnovers and offensive rebounds. Following some needed stops at the defensive end, Aldridge did his work on the interior and the midrange to pull the Spurs within 95-100. If you recall how certain Warriors argued uncalled fouls vociferously the other night without being given technicals; well, DeRozan was teed up after arguing a clear Johnson reach-in. DeMar seemed to have been given a make-up call two minutes later on another Johnson reach. Dragic’s first points of the second half came on a offensive rebound and putback to put Miami up six. Wade also picked up a technical while splaying his legs out on a baseline fadeaway.
- The Spurs had several chances to close out or tie, but a Gay miss from outside kept Miami’s lead at three. In a play reminiscent of the Toronto road game, DeMar, following a block shot at one end, had his dribble knocked away by a Miami player and lost possession with seconds left. San Antonio wasted half of the remaining 8.7 seconds trying to steal and/or foul. Olynyk’s two free throws finished off the scoring.
- FLOPPY Tracker - Miami unsuccessfully ran their own version of the play late in the second.
- Patty Mills’ Hustle - After missing on a leaning floater in the lane to start the second, Mills was able to somehow secure an offensive rebound over Hassan Whiteside. He truly is the spiritual leader of the second unit, if not the team.
- MCL (Marco’s Crazy Leaners) Alert! Count: 2. Belinelli came down on a first quarter fast break and leaned into a three that cut the Heat lead to two. Marco started the fourth quarter with one from the top of the key.
- The Spurs, during the Heat introductions, included a two minute career tribute video - which included highlights from the 2013 Miami championship victory over San Antonio, culminating in Pop presenting him with a warm embrace and parting gift of signed jerseys from the Big 3. The Heat announcers mentioned that this is the first team that has done such a classy thing for the retiring shooting guard.
- Spur-Thorn Focus: Waiters opened the scoring with a stepback corner three in the first and added a fadeaway baseline jumper after. Waiters finished the night with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and one well-placed elbow on yet another Spur torso. He and his fellow guards seem to dominate the play throughout the evening.
- All of us know that the Spurs have made the postseason for the 22nd straight campaign. Think about how unreal that length of playoff success sounds. If the playoff streak was an actual human being, it would have graduated college now!
- Utah blew out the New York 137-116.
- Houston mounted a furious 4th quarter rally but failed to finished off the Grizzlies 126-125.
- Toronto led Oklahoma City in the second half.
- Portland and Dallas were in a tightly contested battle in the first half.
The Spurs next take on our least favorite insurance pitchmen, Chris Paul and James Harden, and the Houston Rockets down I-10 on Friday March 22 at 7:00 PM CDT. Have a wonderful evening!